City are in free-scoring form at the moment, netting 17 in their last seven.
After a win in their opening game of the season, Central Coast have failed to win any of their last seven, losing five of these games to leave them down in eighth, the position they finished in last season. City, meanwhile, were resounding 5-1 winners at home to Perth in their last game, a result that has moved them up to 6th but as close to the top of the table as they are to Central Coast.
That sole win for the Mariners this term came at home to Perth and since then at home they’ve lost to both Sydney sides, who are currently flying high in 2nd and 4th, and picked up a draw against Wellington. Their home record last season against sides that finished between 4th and 7th was W3-D1-L3, with four of these games having fewer than three goals. Regular keeper Reddy is currently sidelined due to a disagreement with the manager and they’ll also be without their captain and key defensive midfielder Nick Montgomery, who is suspended for this game. The Mariners have conceded 19 goals in the nine games he failed to start since the beginning of last season, with a W1-D3-L5 record.
City have been a mixed bag so far this season but their games have tended to be good watches as five have seen at least four goals, due largely to the fact that they have failed to keep a clean sheet so far. Their only defeat in their four away games was a 3-2 thriller against Champions and league leaders Victory as they’ve picked up draws at current 3rd and 4th Brisbane and Sydney, whilst beating struggling Adelaide 4-2. In fact they’ve won all three matches against the current bottom three this term – who have been significantly worse than the other seven sides so far – while scoring 12 goals in the process.
The Mariners won both their home games against City last season without conceding, but they look to have got worse this season while City have improved a touch and are in free-scoring form at the moment, netting 17 in their last seven, and while their defence may be shaky the Mariners attack is poor. Key to having the most goals in the league so far has been the performance of their playmaker Aaron Mooy, who picked up a goal and two assists against Perth, and we expect him to take advantage of Montgomery’s absence in midfield for the Mariners and wreak havoc once again. With the Mariners last six home defeats all coming by more than one goal it could be worth chancing the handicap.